I’ve chucked a U-ey and am going back to my narrative painting. This is one of those times when you go back to where you started and understand it for the first time. For some, that road is short but for me it’s always been a process of trial and error. This process takes longer, but it leaves an interesting trail. In this case, a hurricane of art experimentation over that last five years which has led to a large arsenal of painting techniques. #progress
Where are all of the famous female artists? With the help of the feminist movement of the 70s, the last 40 years has seen a rise in the number of successful female artists, yet males still outnumber females in major gallery exhibitions. Jerry Saltz did some of the number crunching for New York:
“the percentage of women exhibiting in New York galleries and museums is grievously low. According to the fall exhibition schedules for 125 well-known New York galleries—42 percent of which are owned or co-owned by women—of 297 one-person shows by living artists taking place between now and December 31, just 23 percent are solos by women.”
In a recent panel discussion for the last GOMA exhibition, ‘Contemporary Australia: Women’, Julie Ewington tells a joke (although not funny) that sheds some light on the situation. I don’t have the time to comb through the video and find the exact quote but if you do, by all means post it in the comments and I’ll ammend this:
“how do you put on an exhibition at a major gallery and get absolutely no media coverage? You put all women artists in it”.
Here’s a tribute for some of the famous women in art. There are a lot more of course, but this is just something to get you started thinking. I think a lot of the problem behind the lack of famous female artists lies in habit. A lot of artists (myself included) love to point the finger at the grand personalities of art, mainly flamboyant males with exciting sex lives and an arrogant nature. You know the ones. As a culture, we need to be proactive in changing these habits. Research the female greats. Talk about them. Blog about them. Inform people so that they are at the forefront. Next time somebody asks you who your favorite artists are, make sure that you mention famous female artists. Here’s my attempt to promote some of the amazing female talent that was, and that is.
You may have noticed that I have recently pulled back on my social media activity, taken down the Artformyrent.com site and slimmed down my website content. I have been very conscious of my time and have chosen to manage it more cafefully, devoting more time to my work. Any lack of online activity is due to having work in progress.
Thank you for your understanding, and I look forward to sharing the new artwork with you in my next exhibition.
When I met my friend Meritxell I warmed up to her straight away. She’s the sort of person that people gravitate towards because she has this beautiful inner glow. It’s like she has a warm fire over in her belly that you just want to be next to. People love her. I love her!
I was her friend long before she ever bought a painting from me. Actually I have to admit that the first time she ever bought a painting from me I was embarrassed. I had never had a friend buy a painting from me before, and I didn’t know how to react. But she seemed so happy to be taking them home that I got over it. Since then, she has collected many of my works. Her house is like my personal gallery and I light up every time I see how well she cares for them. They have a happy home.
I wanted to share with you some pictures of her house. She has a way of decorating that is so precise and thoughtful… She thinks everything through, and it gives meaning to every corner of her house. I’m different. I’m utilitarian by nature so most things in my house are things that are useful, or things I can create with. There are machines, supplies, boxes, instruments, to-do lists, and they’re all piled up or scattered carelessly in corners. I would like to put more love into creating the space but it’s not very high on my priority list. Maybe that’s why I love to visit homes that are loved.
Here are some photos from a house that is truly loved…
So.. let’s get naked! Before you get too excited… by that I mean let’s be honest and tell the truth. I’m going to tell it how it is. Those that know me will agree that ‘telling it how it is’ is what I do best.
Q: How will I be able to grow as an artist?
A: Being an artist has as much to do with living as it does with making art. I always say “There are many things that I credit for influencing my art, but the most important thing was giving myself the time to live life in order to have something to make art about.”
Let me tell you, I have lived. I can’t count the amount of broken hearts I’ve had, and the amount of hearts I’ve broken. I don’t remember most of the places I’ve visited, although a few stick in my mind and every once in a while a forgotten memory comes back. I’ve started communes, worked in cocktail bars, lived in a van, worked as a Rennie, lived on a boat, did the island life, the mountain life the single life, the together life, the easy life and the hard life.
I’m just saying… art that comes from your heart and from your experiences comes out easy. You grow as a person, and you will grow as an artist. But in the meantime, the most invaluable thing you can do for yourself as an artist is to find the best local artist you can possibly find. Call them and ask if they could please please please be your mentor. There are some assholes that will say no, but there are also some beautiful artists in their twilight years that are ever so happy to help out a newcomer. It’s a tough industry and they know it. They will help you.
Q: Although I’ve been trained in Art I dont know if I’ve lost my creativity. What’s kept you going when you felt like there was no creativity left in your veins?
Art school is a funny thing. I really loved it (all seven of them), but it really sucked my creativity well dry. My first university was great. University of Nevada Reno, in my hometown was just a place for me to kill a year doing art classes while saving up for bigger and better things. To this day it remains the single most important year of my creative growth. It was a relaxing environment and I was able to explore and play with my art. It was liberating! After that I went to Columbus College of Art & Design (1996-7) and it sucked the fun out of art. It was so… methodical. In retrospect it was probably the wrong art school for me, but you see there was this really cute boy who also went there so I just had to go.
What was the question? Oh yes, loss of creativity. I can’t tell you what to do to get your painting mojo back, but I can tell you what I did after 10 years of feeling that way. First, I bought some supplies. It’s amazing how much of a difference that makes. Secondly, I set up a space. I turned my spare room into a studio even before I knew what I wanted to paint. And thirdly, I put the paint on the palette. I had no idea what I was going to paint, I just knew that I had to go through the motions. I sat there for a long time smelling the oil paints, and finally I made a mark, which led to another & another… After the first painting was done, it was easy. I couldn’t close my eyes without getting a new idea. It was all in that first step. In short, do some paint sniffing and you’ll be fine.
Q: where do you get your inspirations from?
Everywhere! There isn’t a person, an event, a thing that doesn’t inspire me. I’m a part of a larger network and if it weren’t for this network, I couldn’t do what I do. I’m going to open up a big can of ‘hippie’ on you. I just pick up on the vibrations of life and allow inspiration to come get me. Inspiration is like opportunity, and if you leave your window open it never has to knock.
Q: What other artist inspire you? or what art period?
As above, everything. I love the old greats. I mean who doesn’t get completely mesmerized when looking at the huge renaissance paintings, or even the impressionists? I love Picasso, Goya, Duchamp, Warhol, Kahlo, Emin, scheile… And I love new stuff. The cool thing now is that there is so much going on! Everywhere you look there’s an artist doing something amazing and new.
We have so many new materials at our disposal, and so much disposal to make new materials out of. It’s all a big fat beautiful mess. I love the minimalist medium based works. You know the ones, that pick a new material and do something really big that fills up a whole gallery. I find it ridiculous, but amazingly beautiful. And I like the more tongue in cheek street and lowbrow art. A bunch of young punks tearing shit up. I love it! And then we have things like new media art, social media art, illustration as high art, mail art, email art, granny art & fanny art. It’s all there, it’s all engaging, a lot of fun and terribly inspiring.
Q: What is the process you use to create your digital art? do you draw it first and put it in the computer and mess with it? what programs do you use?
I usually chuck some ink around on paper, and then draw around it. Then I scan it and play with it in Photoshop. I add some vector based stuff brought in from illustrator as well. A lot of the textures I use for backgrounds are from my own paintings, so you get the painted, delicious texture in there. The print industry is really exciting at the moment and I’m keen to discover new ways to print my digital art. Will keep you guys posted.
Q: Is there any advice you could give me? (I want to be a graphic designer and hopefully i’ll get in a university for 2012).
Sure. Make art for yourself, even when you’re in school. Also while you’re in school find the best of the best in graphic design in your area and ask for work experience. Even if you’re only doing 5 hours a week it’s a foot in the door. A lot of people end up without a job at the end of Uni all because they didn’t think about what comes after. Uni is the perfect time and place to make your connections. Get that work experience, find a mentor, and work hard.
Start keeping a scrap book or folder with all of your favorite designers. If they do something you like, figure out how they do it. Copy them until you learn it, then move on to something else. That way you will build up your knowledge of techniques and will be able to develop your own style easily.
And while you’re at Uni… don’t ever ever drink cherry flavored liqueur. Ever. Especially if you’re a little gassy. It will be really embarrassing for you when you throw up red vomit in front of everyone, your best friend will have to clean it up and you will never live it down. It’s just best you don’t.
I wanted to show you some of the things I really like. Some of the things that inspire me and influence me in a big way. I enjoy looking forward into the future a lot more than I like looking backwards, and it’s because of this that I rarely talk about my influences. But it’s time to pay tribute to really cool stuff. There’s so much of it!
One of the things that really interests me is folk art, and naive art. The art happens when people aren’t worried about the art scene. Stuff done by people in farms in the middle of nowhere who have never been to art school, never heard of the big guns and don’t really care to learn about them, for that matter. Folk art is one of the humblest, most lovely art. There is something so honest in it that you just don’t find in the cities. It’s the mother of all visual story-telling.
I really dig American folk art and also the movements that glorify it. Here are a couple of searches for you so you can see what I’m talking about:
It’s been a huge influence for me over the years, and I wanted to share it with you. Some of the work I did in New Orleans was heavily influenced by this. I also did similar work in Brisbane. For a long time I couldn’t make anything other than folk-influenced art. I wanted to be humble and good. Maybe I even wanted to be a monk, and making folk art made me feel one step closer to goodness. Thankfully, now that I’m grown up and corrupt I can make whatever the hell I want. I’ll talk about my long-term battle with that later on.
In Brisbane I used to paint little business cards and post cards and leave them around the city. I couldn’t afford to have anything printed, and I liked the idea of having them sitting next to corporate business cards. They just had my name and phone number on the back, but I never got any phone calls. I wasn’t even selling anything – I just wanted to see what they would do. I wonder what happened to them… They’re probably in the bin!
Sometimes in life we are lucky to witness an extraordinary image, something you see that completely defines how you are feeling at that particular time. Today I was that lucky. Unfortunately these are also the times when I find myself without a camera.
Two days ago I spat the dummy at work and left. Yes, I spit the dummy sometimes. It ain’t pretty, and it ain’t a regular occurrence, but it happens. This wasn’t out of the blue – I’ve been feeling it coming for a while. My only hope was that I would be able to make the change before ‘the crossover’. The Crossover is what happens when you know you’re so unhappy in your job that there’s going to be a dummy spit any second. I thought I was still in the I-can-handle-this stage, but obviously I had already crossed over. So I quit.
People quit jobs all the time, and lord knows I’ve quit a few (hundred) in my day, but I’m a sole parent and these decisions impact my son. Nonetheless, I’m happy that it happened. Part of me feels that I’ve opened up the floodgates of opportunity for great things to come. The other part of me, the responsible part, is locked away in the dungeon with gag around her mouth momentarily and will remain so until there’s not a penny in the bank.
The thing is, I want to be an artist full-time. Yes, I’m a dreamer, but I read the first chapter of The Secret and that lady said that I can have it, so I want it. NOW! Isn’t that the way it works? I figure I’ve done 33 years of visualizing it, so I’m ready to collect, just as she said.
This is my chance to really go for it. To give it everything I’ve got. The reason I’m telling you all of this is because I want to paint a picture (pun totally intended) of how I’m feeling at the moment. I’m putting an incredible amount of pressure on myself to support this habit of making art.
Close your eyes…. visualize how I feel… Now here’s what I saw:
An elderly man, riding his motorized scooter. You know, the kind that the elderly ride to the grocery store and such. He had a great big painting leaning up against the back of the scooter, sticking out half a meter on each side and strapped around the chair so as to not go flying off. and he was carefully riding it to who knows where, as if it were the last of his precious belongings. Or maybe he was taking it to raffle off at Bingo. Either way I got all teary and emotional.
So there you have it. I’m carrying all the weight of my art on my back, but I sure as hell wouldn’t have it any other way.